an open letter to Shetland Islands Council

Dear Shetland Islands Council, I write to express my dismay at the decision of the council not to renew the Promote Shetland contract, thereby discontinuing the important work of this organisation, and removing three people from their jobs. The minutes of your decision — effectively arrived at during the brief adjournment in which councillors were… Read More

Rainbow shades

It’s the final week of the Inspired by Islay club, and we’ve released the final group of patterns. This grouping is is inspired by the beautiful Rhinns of Islay, where the fast-moving skies are never the same from one moment to the next, and are frequently lit up by rainbows. Each of the patterns in… Read More

Oa 2

Morning! As we are well ahead of ourselves with the preparation of the Inspired by Islay book, Tom and I took yesterday afternoon off and went out to Glen Etive. On the way I got Tom to stop above the Bridge of Orchy, so I could take some photos of his Oa Hoody — I… Read More

infrared

Hiya, it is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about Tom’s latest obsession, which is a thing called Infrared. A few weeks ago, Tom acquired a camera from one of his favourite photographers, a man named David Clapp. Now this Clapp takes interesting photos and Tom was very excited to experiment with… Read More

a year in pictures

January Deco & Epistropheid February Winning Microbusiness of the Year! Miss Rachel’s Yoke and Gauntlets March Funyin; Edinburgh Yarn Fest April Work in Shetland. May The Book of Haps June Pink fish mittens ; knitting with Bruce July Woman’s Hour interview at the BBC; trip to France August Return to Shetland. Photography, writing and designing.… Read More

Shetland Oo: making a book

Hello – it’s Tom here – for a change. Kate is busy working on her Islay project, and I’m taking a break today from shipping out orders. I wanted to say thanks so much for your interest in our Shetland Oo book. Apart from being my first major project as a photographer, Oo is the… Read More

Gudrun Johnston & Mary Jane Mucklestone

One of the best things about working in the field of hand-knit design is that it really is an industry which abounds with good eggs. In my view, two of the very best eggs around are Gudrun Johnston and Mary-Jane Mucklestone: great friends, talented designers, and Shetland enthusiasts. Gudrun spent her early years in Shetland,… Read More

sound and vision

My good friend Felicity Ford (aka Felix) is as enthusiastic as I am about Shetland and its wool industry. In 2013 (when she was patron of Shetland Wool Week) Felix worked on a number of field recordings for her important project, Listening to Shetland Wool. From the baas of lambs caught on the breeze, to… Read More

Helen Robertson

If you’ve read my introduction to The Book of Haps then you’ll already have come across Helen Robertson – a Shetland artist and craftswoman whose work I deeply admire. Working with silver wire and other precious materials, Helen has developed a uniquely thoughtful aesthetic which celebrates, commemorates and reflects upon Shetland’s history and heritage –… Read More

Uradale

One of the really fascinating aspects about our Shetland Oo project has been finding out more about what motivates Shetlanders who work with wool, and what really makes them tick, both personally and politically (because yes, in so many ways wool is political). Ronnie Eunson and Sue White of Uradale farm, near Scalloway, are particularly… Read More

Shetland Tannery

As part of our work researching and documenting Shetland Oo, this past August, Tom and I met Natalie Cairns-Ratter of the Shetland Tannery. I’d acquired several of Natalie’s beautiful sheepskins on earlier Shetland visits, and was intrigued to learn more about the tanning process, and how her company came about. Small-scale tanning was previously a… Read More